About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 20

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ch. 20:1-8   ch. 20:9-19    ch. 20:20:26    ch. 20:27-40

ch. 20:41-47

The Authority Of Jesus Questioned (ch. 20:1 - 8)

Luke opens this chapter with the words "one day". Well this one day had to have been Tuesday or Wednesday of the last week before Jesusí death. The Jewish leaders questioned Jesus as to who gave Him such authority to do and to say the things He was doing and saying. Such things as throwing over the money changers tables was very dramatic. The synagogue leaders, as well as the Sanhedrin wanted to know who gave Him this authority because they certainly didnít and they were the ones in charge.

I donít think that this question was a politely asked question. These leaders were furious with Jesus at this point and they probably asked the question in great anger.

As often the case, Jesus did not answer their question directly. He answered with this question, "Ö tell me, Johnís baptism Ė was it from Heaven or was it from men"?

Now the Jewish leaders were not dumb. They knew what Jesus would say about His authority. They just wanted to hear Him say it and then blast Him for blasphemy, but Jesus didnít play along with them.

In fact Jesus tried to trap the Jewish leaders with His question. If John was from God, then Jesus was from God because John spoke and foretold about Jesus.

So the leaders had to decide among themselves how to answer Jesusí question. They thought that if they answered by saying John came from God, then why did they oppose Him. Of course they didnít think that He was from God but they concluded they could not admit that in front of the crowd or else they themselves would be stoned by the masses of people who were persuaded that both John and Jesus were from God.

In verse 7 the leaders ignored Jesusí question when they answered, "we donít know where it was from". In other words, "we donít want to answer your question Jesus".

So this being the case, Jesus answered their original question in like manner. He said, "neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things". Jesusí answer pretty well disabled the Jewish leaders who failed in their attempt to trap Jesus in front of the crowd.

A Parable About Tenants (ch. 20:9 - 19)

Jesus is still in the Temple court when He tells yet another parable. The story goes like this. A man planted a vineyard and put certain people in charge. The man went away for a long time and every so often heíd send someone to check up on things in the vineyard. But every time he sent someone those in charge of the vineyard beat the messenger up. Finally the owner of the vineyard thought that he would send his only son that he loved. He figured that the managers would respect the son, but they didnít. After talking things over, those looking after the vineyard thought that it would be a good idea to kill the son because he was heir and someday the vineyard would be his. If they killed him, then quite possibly the vineyard might fall into their hands.

Jesus therefore asked this question in verse 15, "what then will the owner of the vineyard do to them"?

Jesus answered His own question by saying the owner of the vineyard will come and kill those bad managers who killed his only son and give the vineyard to someone different altogether.

In verse 16 those hearing this story responded by saying, "may this never be". We know from this response and also from verse 19 that the Pharisees and others understood what Jesus was talking about.

It is clear that God was the owner of the vineyard and that He had sent His prophets throughout the centuries and the Jews beat and killed them. God then decided to send His only Son Jesus. By Jesus saying that the son in the story was killed by the managers of the vineyard, He was implying that the Jewish leaders would kill Him in like manner. Thus the response by the crowd, "may this never be". Yet the Pharisees were more furious than ever. Verse 19 tells us that they wanted to kill him on the spot.

Verse 17 says that Jesus "looked directly at them". To me this suggest the intensity of Jesus. It was if His eyes were piercing into the souls of those near Him. His response to the crowd was, "then what is the meaning of that which is written. Ďthe stone the builders rejected has become the capstoneí". (Psa. 118:22)

If the killing of the one and only son was not meant to be, Jesus was thus asking the crowd for their meaning of this Psalm. Jesus said that God was building a house, and He was going to be the cornerstone that the house would be built on. The problem was that the builders threw Him, the cornerstone away. God had no other choice than to find new builders. The reality of this came true in Acts 10 when Gentiles came into the Kingdom of God.

What Jesus said in verse 18 is interesting. He said, "everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed". What is Jesus saying here?

Jesus said 2 things. First of all, if we fall on the stone we will be broken. That is to say, if we come to Jesus, the chief cornerstone, He will break us. He will humble us. He will tear us down and rebuild us into something He likes. This is something that is not spoken much about in our gospel. Have you ever heard, "if you give your life to Jesus, He will demolish you"? Doesnít really sound like good news. Yet this is what Jesus said.

This demolishing though is better than the second alternative. If the stone, meaning Jesus falls on us, then it will crush us to death. If we donít give our lives to Jesus, then He will destroy us in the long run. This will come true on the Day of Judgement.

The Jewish leaders did not like at all what Jesus was saying and they looked for a way to "arrest Him immediately" but couldnít find a suitable way to do this.

One last thought for this section. It is something that I have said before but is worth repeating. God is not afraid to tear down something that He has built and start over again. He did it to the Jews, and He can do it to the church, and I believe He has. Movements that have started by Godís Spirit that have fallen into disrepair, God has left to form another movement.

Paying Taxes To Caesar (ch.19:20 - 26)

Verse 20 opens by saying, "keeping close watch on Him, they sent spiesÖ" Who are "they"? "They" are the Jewish leaders.

Why did the Jewish leaders send spies? They wanted to catch Jesus in something that He said that would be against Roman Law. They knew they could not arrest and kill Jesus. They had no authority to do that, so if they sent honest looking spies and caught Jesus in some civil wrong, then they could hand Him over to the Romans who did have the authority to arrest Jesus.

They first tell Jesus that He teaches things that are right and things that are from God, and that He doesnít show partiality. So they inquired from Jesus if they should pay taxes to Caesar.

If Jesus had answered "no" to their question, then that would be grounds for immediate arrest. This is what they were hoping for.

Verse 23 says that Jesus "saw through their duplicity". Jesus knew what they were trying to do to Him. Jesus was quite a genius in His answer. Jesus must have been very sharp whited. He asked them to show Him a coin and then tell Him whose picture was on the coin. Caesarís image was on that coin. Then in verse 25 Jesus said, "then give to Caesar that which is Caesars and to God that which is Godís.

Jesusí answer astonished and silenced those who opposed Him. They could not trap Him. He said nothing that was against the Roman Law. He in fact upheld the Law.

These words of Jesus have been echoed by many over the centuries with some differing interpretations. Jesus is telling us to give to government what rightly belongs to them. In this particular case it is taxes. The same can be said for us. We should pay our taxes. If we believe they are to high then we can find a legal way to protest. In the

case of the people Jesus was speaking to, there was no legal way to protest. You just paid or else.

What we give to God is different. We give Him our whole lives. Our whole lives does not belong to our government. Thus, if there is a conflict between government and God, we stand on the side of God. As I have said before, Christians live in two kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Godís Kingdom demands one hundred percent loyalty.

The Resurrection And Marriage (ch. 20:27 - 40)

The event in this section takes place on the Tue. or Wed. before Good Friday which can be learned from Matthewís account. Certain Saddusees, one sect of the Jewish leadership that were more free thinkers and lived their lives much more loosely than the Pharisees have joined the attempt to trick Jesus into saying something wrong. You might remember that the Sadusees did not believe in the resurrection, so the question that they are about to propose is a little ironic.

The Sadducees most likely are going to try to trick Jesus into admitting that there is no resurrection because of the illogical case they are going to present. Or else they will trick Him by proving the resurrection but go against the Law of Moses by His answer. In Duet. 25:5 the Law says that if a husband dies without having children, the wife cannot marry outside the family. A brother must merry her and try to have children.

So this is what these men present Jesus with. A husband dies. He has 7 brothers. Each of the seven brothers marries the wife, one at a time, but none has children. Each of the seven men, plus the original husband were legally the wifeís husband. If indeed there is a resurrection, then who is the real husband and why?

Verse 34 begins the answer that Jesus gave these Sadducees. First of all, people in this age are given in marriage. They have husbands and wives. They have children. And as Jesus said, "they die", thus the reason for having children in the first place, that is, to replenish the earth.

Jesus goes on to say that it wonít be this way "in that age, and in the resurrection". Are "that age", and the "resurrection" the same age? Most likely they are, although some think that "that age" refers to the time after we die, and before we get our resurrected bodies, if there is such a time. These people believe that once we die our souls will be with the Lord, and then will be united with our resurrected bodies at the day of resurrection.

Jesus said, that "they can no longer die but are like the angels", meaning, eternal beings. Once again, if these people donít die, there is no reason to replenish and reproduce. The number of these people is a fixed number. Some people believe that when the last of this fixed number gets saved, then Jesus will return.

The simple fact is that in the next life, we will not have a husband or a wife. We will not give birth to children. Therefore the whole premise of the Saddusees question is wrong. Jesus quoted from the time of the burning bush with Moses. Moses called God "the God of the living, not the dead". Jesus said this to point out to the Saddusees that Moses believed in the resurrection of the dead.

Verse 39 says that some responded by saying, "well said teacher", and nobody thought to ask any more questions. Jesus could not be stumped.

Whose Son Is The Christ (ch. 20:41 - 47)

Jesus has been asked many questions. It is now His time to ask a question, and a key one at that. Jesus quoted from Psalm 110:1. It says, "the Lord said to my Lord; Ď sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstoolí". In this verse we see that "the Lord said to my Lord". The word Lord is used twice, but in reality the original Hebrew has two different words. We must remember, in Hebrew there was more than one name for God. Thus this verse says, "Yahweh said to Adonai". Was God talking to Himself, or was He talking to the second person of what we call the Trinity? Most likely the later.

What did Yahweh say to Adonai? Yahweh told Adonai to sit at His side, a place of authority until all enemies are under His feet. David called Adonai both his son and his Lord. How could this Adonai, meaning God, be both a son and Lord to David? How could God be David's son? Good question.

The reason why Jesus most likely asked this questions is because the Pharisees saw the Messiah as the son of David, a human being. They did not view the Messiah as being God. This is the fundamental error in the Pharisees thinking. This is why they most likely saw the Messiah as an earthly redeemer, one who would bring a political and physical kingdom back to Israel. They did not see the Messiah as being God in human flesh.

Luke does not tell us more about this discussion. But we can tell by the question that Jesus presented that He was getting at the point the Messiah was both the son of David and the Son of God. He was Davidís son because in human terms He was born in Davidís lineage. Yet He was also the Son of God because of His miraculous birth as a result of the visitation of the Holy Spirit to Mary.

In the last part of this chapter Jesus blasted the Jewish leadership. He spoke of their arrogance and pride. He noted that they loved being greeted and seen in the market place. They prayed long and lofty prayers only to be seen. Jesus said that they'd "be judged severely". I am convinced that Jesus feelings towards such leaders did not end with the Jews. I am sure that Heíd say the same about any Christian leader in our day. Pride and arrogance should not be found in Christian leaders of any kind or else they too will be judged just as severely.

 

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